Hogline Hannah

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Written by Gritfish

Hogline Hannah

Never, NEVER! was a banana
Allowed onboard by Hogline Hannah.
'Superstitious' aptly described her.
From mid-March to mid-May, virtually every day,
She anchored steadfast in the river.
Lined up like hogs at a trough at all the best spots,
Hannah's friends awaited king salmon.
Floating communities with protocols and priorities
Were established by longstanding custom.
The royal chinook, susceptible to hook,
Was the cause of this fishing endeavor.
Hoglines from the beach to Willamette Falls reach
Formed regardless of inclement weather.

There once was a time when success in the hogline
Was assured to those who were patient.
It might have taken eight days but persistence pays
When a chinook is brought to the net.
With pollution and dams, clearcuts and farms
Fouling the streams with manure
Salmon went into decline and in the hogline
Hannah's catches grew fewer and fewer.
Though down on her luck, Hannah would not give up
And vowed to continue to try.
'I'll keep fishing,' she said, 'until I am dead.'
'At least it's a good way to die.'

The inevitable came and in a cold, driving rain
Hannah died fishless with her rod in her hand.
In no natal brook spawned another chinook--
Extinct and gone from the land.
And what can we say to our children today
Who stare at the foul, sluggish river?
How can we explain that lack of concern
Exterminated the salmon forever?

(Dedicated to Butch Erickson)
Gritfish © 1998

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